I definitely feel very blessed to be in this country and to have the resources that we have. But we cannot take it for granted. A lot of people in this country don’t really think about this, but it wasn’t our choice to be born here. We got to be born here, and we should be thankful we were born in this country.
It wasn’t somebody else’s choice to be born in Uganda, where a baby’s mom has no breast milk because she doesn’t have the nutrients to create the breast milk. In places like that, babies are born and immediately do not have, and it wasn’t their choice. And that is why we have to help out. We create peace in the world and love in the world when countries with the luxury of having, give.
I mean, to me, that is it. You look at the early church. Everybody sold all the extra things they had and shared the proceeds to make sure that everyone who didn’t have, got what they needed. The richer Christian with two houses sold one house, so that the one with no house could have what they needed. These people understood the concept of love. They understood the concept of pure love, not fake love. Not the kind of love where you say “I love you,” or “I love that group of people,” but you don’t do anything. Sure they talked about love, but they gave.
And that’s been a big thing in my family. I do give. I don’t want to just talk about poverty. I want to help alleviate poverty. So how do I do that? Well, wells are huge. Water is one of the sources of life. It might be the source of life. And we don’t understand that in this country. Sometimes I say, “I don’t feel like water. Give me a Diet Coke. Water just doesn’t taste good for me right now.” You go to some of these third world countries, and that would just be shocking! Over there, if you said, “I hate water, I’d rather have a coke,” they’d say, “What? You don’t like water? Give me your water, then!” People are dying for water.
This has hit me hard the last couple of years. Honestly, three or four years ago, I didn’t think one thing about this stuff. I knew about adopting children, Compassion International, sponsoring a child, etc. I would hear about problems of poverty and I would say, “Man that stinks.” And that was it. I’d go off to my day. There wasn’t anything in my heart that responded and asked, “How do we help?”
So I’m definitely not judging or condemning anybody who reads about poverty or sees it on TV and says, “Oh man that stinks, that sucks,” and then goes on with their day. Because I’ve done it. You’re not a bad person for doing that.
It’s just that for me, it was the lack of awareness and understanding and lack of knowledge of what was really taking place over there. When I started reading more about it, and gaining more understanding, I realized that people have to know. I guess that’s what I’m trying to do.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, to say, “Oh my gosh, look at all these huge statistics about poverty.” But that’s not the question in my heart. The question is, “Can I help?” And the answer is, “Yes, you can.”
And you might ask, “But will anything I do really help that much?” And the answer is, “Yes, it will!”
Suppose you help to build a well. What happens to the people that receive these wells and get good drinking water? I hear the stories. These people are thriving, and they want to help other communities. They’re saying, “Now that we have water here, now that we’re healthy and we can work, can we possibly help the community next to us, and get them some water? Or can we share our water with them? That way they don’t have to walk seven miles, they only have to walk two miles, until we can get enough funds generated to where we can put in a well for them.”
These people, they’re very, very thankful. And it’s all because somebody helped them out. Somebody had enough love for them. They’ve never even met them, and they helped them out. And that’s huge! I mean, that concept is so great. We’re creating a world in which we love our neighbors as ourselves.
I’m trying to put my money where my mouth is, because I know there are a lot of people that would say, “Well, helping to build a well is easy for you, because you make millions of dollars a year. I don’t make millions of dollars a year.”
You’d be amazed at how much you can do. You could give even two dollars a day. If you put that in your change drawer, that’s sixty bucks a month!
Imagine doing that over the course of like a year. I help out with wells at Living Water International, and they tell me that two dollars goes a long way. Two dollars goes a long way! And think about it: if you put two dollars away a day, you’d save 730 dollars in a year. If you get ten people to do that, that’s enough for a well! That’s a well for fifteen hundred people! Just from ten people putting two dollars away a day.
Not For Sale, the anti-slavery campaign, does a great job with Free2Work and Free2Play. They’ve set up a variety of fundraising scenarios. You can find one that works for you. Suppose you’re a salesperson or an artist. You can give a portion of your commission, say one percent, to Free2Work, and basically you work to free people. That’s an awesome concept. I’ve learned a lot just by thinking about how Not For Sale does things, combining a lot of small donations into something big. You’re going to have someone that can give a million dollars, and you’re going to have someone that can give fifty cents. You can have a twelve year-old kid that gives five cents, because that’s all he has. Great! That’s fine! Five cents! Because if you get a hundred thousand kids that give five cents, that’s a lot of money.
That’s such a great concept. Everybody chips in to make sure that those who do not have because they cannot have, get. You can set it up however you want to set it up, and it’ll work. Because it’s not the amount of money the individual gives. It’s the amount of individuals that give, whatever they can.